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Intel Sets Wireless MMX2 Alight

Intel announced improvements to its Wireless MMX2 technology to inspire the next generation of wireless multimedia handsets, the company said this week.

The second generation of instruction sets for PCs and other devices will be available in future Intel XScale PXA series ARM-based architecture processors. The technology will also support 64-bit applications through Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) processing. The revised instructions are fully compatible with the previous generation of Wireless MMX technology, Intel said.

MMX-enabled microprocessors can handle many common multimedia operationsthat are normally handled by a separate sound or video card, such as digital signal processing (DSP). However, only software specially written to call MMX instructions can take advantage of the MMX instruction set.

Mark Casey, a general manager in Intel's cellular handheld group, said the new technology also features a familiar programming style that lets developers use their existing code base through common tool support, including assembler, debugger, intrinsics, and vectorizer tools.

"We all want a high-quality audio and video experience on our mobile handsets, but it can be expensive and time-intensive to develop these services," Casey said in a statement. "Intel's Wireless MMX2 technology simplifies the design of complicated multimedia applications, enabling phone manufacturers and carriers to deliver innovative services and high-end content. Consumers can enjoy a better mobile experience, and carriers can provide a broader range of handsets and tools."

For example, Intel said its Integrated Performance Primitives (Intel IPP) will support the Wireless MMX2 instructions so that developers already using Intel IPP within their applications can get up to speed.

The improvements to Wireless MMX fall in line with Intel's plans to expand on its processor lineup for handsets. Earlier this month at Intel's Developer Forum, the company showed off its own cell phone platform (code-named Hermon) that will ship later this year.

Sean Maloney, Intel mobility group manager, said the company's roadmap for the future of cell phone platforms includes one- and two-chip configurations with integrated graphics, high-end performance and low-power modules.